Freedom is formlessness, yet we are all contained inside our bodies. Showing on the outside what’s inside is liberating.
That’s what fashion is for me.
The process of learning how to dress, is so peculiar: through it, we define, and decide who we are. Every outfit is a message, as conscious or unconscious, as we choose to make it.
Schiaparelli, the most prominent figure in fashion between the two World Wars, was in an eternal quest to find and materialize beauty.
Realizing that she wasn’t pretty at a young age, she filled her nose-trills, throat and ears with seeds hoping that their flowers would make her beautiful.
She revolutionized fashion, by creating the first ‘ready-to-wear’ boutique, which at that time, was unheard of. She was also the first to use camouflage prints on regular clothes, zippers as design elements, and gowns with synthetic materials.
We owe her the existence of jumpsuits, overalls, culottes, scarf-dresses, the power suit, wedge heels, swimsuits with built-in bras, shirtwaist jackets, scarf dresses, wraparound dresses, and most importantly shocking pink.
In other words, she transformed dress-making into an art form and a tool of liberation. Her friendship with the Surrealists of the time, and especially with Dalí, became some of the most exceptional fashion collaborations ever, at a time when fashion and art did not mix.
‘The transformation I had in Schiap’s showroom was the starting point of a wonderful job’, said Katharine Hepburn, as her career began to explode.
Clothes have the healing power of transformation. A world of possibilities opens when you change the way you look, because it transforms the way people see you. This process reminds me of what the braid is for me: it’s my manifesto, but also my shield. It makes me strong. When my hair is down, I’m vulnerable.
No better words to describe this process, than Shiaparelli’s: ‘When you take off your clothes, your personality also undresses, and you become such a different person – more true to yourself and to your real character. More conscious. Sometimes more cruel.’
So take a dive into yourself. Venture into a journey through fashion as self-identity. Your story is not who you are, it’s what you make of yourself.
Article sponsored by The Dali Museum.
In Daring Fashion is presented in collaboration by The Dali Museum and Schiaparelli Paris featuring haute couture gowns and accessories, jewelry, paintings, drawings, objects and photos. It’s the first exhibition dedicated to the creative relationship works of Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali and will run until January 14th 2018. Pictures by Celia D. Luna/ dress by Carolinsa K